Everyone loves going to carnivals, especially when they get delicious fair food. No fair food is more iconic than kettle corn and with this easy Kettle Corn Recipe, you can crunch this tasty corn in the comfort of your own kitchen!
It’s snack time but you can’t decide whether you should go for something salty or something sweet. No worries, just choose kettle corn! This carnival favorite has just the right balance of sugar and salt to keep you coming back but it's not just for the carnival anymore. With this simple Kettle Corn Recipe, you can make your favorite fair snack at home in no time!
What You’ll Love About This Kettle Corn Recipe
Sweet and Salty Snack
The perfect snacks are always balanced and there is no better example of that than this kettle corn. It has perfect levels of salt and sweetness to make your mouth water. Plus, the textures are out of this world! The airness of the popcorn is contrasted by the happy crunch of caramelized sugar. It’s like a symphony of crunch in your mouth and you won’t want it to end!
Say goodbye to boring old snack mixes or chips and treat your party guests to something special with the tasty kettle corn. This is a tasty twist on snacking that pleases so many palates with its salty and sweet flavors.
This snack is naturally safe for practically all diets, so you can't go wrong making this for a group. Serve this kettle corn at your next gathering but get ready for plenty of recipe requests!
Easy to Make
When you see the kettle corn vendor at the fair it always seems like they’re working hard. Fortunately, this recipe simplifies their techniques to make this treat easy and accessible at home. With the easiest ingredients and simplest methods, chefs of all skill levels can make this tasty treat in no time!
This recipe does not require a popcorn popper or any special tools. You don’t have to stir the kettle or anything. It literally could not get any easier to make the perfect kettle corn than in this easy recipe!
This oil is used for popping the kernels. Vegetable oil is great because of its mild flavor and high smoke point. If you do not have vegetable oil, substitute it with another neutral cooking oil, like canola, safflower, and avocado oil.
For this recipe choose white or yellow popcorn kernels. If possible, try to use ‘mushroom’ kernels. These kernels have a bulbous mushroom-like shape that makes them perfect for the sugary coating.
Granulated sugar is the sweetener that creates the signature kettle corn flavor. If you are preparing this snack for plant-based eaters, use organic cane sugar as a vegan-safe alternative.
Salt is essential for popcorn. To give this kettle corn its salty bite choose a fine-grain popcorn salt. Porncorn salt has a very, very fine grain that makes it easy to incorporate into the popcorn.
Large Heavy Bottom Pot
To make this recipe accessible for everyone, you don’t need a popcorn popper or any special equipment, just a heavy-bottomed pot. A large stainless steel or copper pot with a lid is perfect for popping this kettle corn.
Having a large metal bowl on the counter to catch the freshly popped kettle corn is essential to stopping cooking and avoiding burns. Kettle corn comes out of the popper very hot and coated in molten sugar, so choose a bowl made of heat-resistant material, like stainless steel or ceramic.
How to Make Kettle Corn
- Place a large bowl on the counter to catch the popped corn.
- Place the large heavy-bottom pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the oil and about 3 kernels of popcorn.
- Cover the pot and cook until you hear the first kernels pop.
- Once the first kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn to the pot and shake to coat the corn in the oil.
- Pour the sugar and salt over the kernels.
- Cover the pot and shake it for 3 seconds then rest for 3 seconds. Repeat this process until the corn starts to pop.
- Once the popping starts, agitate the pot constantly.
- When there are 2 seconds between the popping sounds, the corn is done. Quickly remove the pot from the heat and dump the popcorn into the prepared bowl.
- Allow the corn to cool for a couple minutes before enjoying it. The sugar will be very hot, so be careful.
- Be sure to do the kernel test. This ensures that the oil is at the right temperature for cooking popcorn.
- Sift together the sugar and salt before starting the recipe.
- Listen to the corn popping. The time between popping sounds is the most reliable sign of doneness, so listen out for the pops.
- Don’t dive into the kettle corn right away, the sugar will be extremely hot and can cause serious burns.
Once the kettle corn is cool enough to handle, add about 1 cup of plain or peanut M&M’s into the corn. Toss the bowl to incorporate.
Make a fun cinema snack by tossing about ¼ cup each of roasted peanuts and Buncha Cruncha into the kettle corn.
If sweet and salty aren’t enough, try adding some chocolate into the mix. Allow the kettle corn to cool and then spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet, Melt your favorite type of chocolate and drizzle it evenly over the kettle corn. Allow it to cool before breaking it up to serve.
Nice and Nutty
Nothing goes with the sweet and salty flavors of kettle corn like nuts. Go nuts by adding all your favorite nuts to this snack. Use a mixed blend of nuts or try simply roasted almonds. You can even try tossing in candied pecans for an extra bite of sugary crunch!
How to Serve Kettle Corn
This kettle corn is perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s a cozy night in, family game night, or a kid’s sleepover, this snack is sure to amaze you! The salty and sweet flavors make it great for afternoon munching or late-night cravings.
Any time or place is perfect for this fun snack. It’s a great way to bring some carnival-inspired flair to everyday life!
Try taking the presentation of this snack to the next level by serving it in paper popcorn bags. You can even find a ceramic version of the classic paper popcorn bag for an elevated twist, but in any bowl or bag, this kettle corn will always taste great!
How to Store Kettle Corn Recipe
The best part of this sweet and savory snack is that you can store the leftovers! Move any uneaten kettle corn to an airtight container and store it at room temperature. Kettle corn can be kept in a cool, dark spot on the counter or in the pantry for up to 1 week.
Leftovers of this snack make great snacks for school or work and it's an ideal midnight nosh!
Can I Make this Snack in Advance?
Yes, absolutely you can make this snack in advance of a big gathering or food a week’s worth of snacking! You can even double the yield, but work in batches so you don’t overfill the kettle!
Making this treat in advance is great for game days and school lunches. It’s a great idea to prepare this snack the day before a big party so you have less to stress over on the day of the event!
Is Kettle Corn Healthy?
Popcorn is always a solid snack. It has lots of fiber, folate, niacin, and riboflavin making this a tasty way to get your essential nutrients. However, kettle corn does have added sugar and salt. This makes the corn slightly more indulgent, but still a healthy alternative to the occasional potato chip or cookie binge!
Kettle corn is naturally nut-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free so this snack is great for limited diets. Overall, if you need a sweet and salty snack, reaching for kettle corn instead of something fattier is usually a great choice.
Is Kettle Corn Vegan?
By nature kettle corn is vegetarian. Granulated white sugar is often refined with bone char and that makes it non-vegan. If you want to make this snack vegan just swap the white sugar for organic cane sugar, a vegan-friendly alternative.
Is Kettle Corn Nut-Free?
Kettle corn is wonderfully low in common allergens and irritants. If you choose nut-free cooking oil, then yes this kettle corn is nut-free.
To be safe always check the labels if you know you are cooking for someone with a nut allergy. Some commonly nut-free foods can be processed in the same facilities as nuts, so it's better to be safe than sorry!Print
Looking for a yummy sweet and salty treat? Look no further than this easy kettle corn recipe! Plus, I've got some great tips to help you make it without burning the sugar. So grab your ingredients and let's get popping!
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 7 minutes
- Category: Snacks
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Set a large bowl on the counter to pour your popped kettle corn into.
- To a large heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid) add oil and 3 kernels of popcorn. Cover and heat over medium-high heat (medium if your stove runs hot) until you hear all 3 kernels pop.
- Add the rest of your popcorn and shake the pan for a few seconds to coat the kernels. Pour sugar and salt directly over the popcorn. Cover and shake for 3 seconds, rest for 3 seconds, repeat, until popcorn begins to pop steadily.
- Once that starts, shake pan mostly continuously, pausing occasionally to listen for breaks in popping. Once there is about a 2 second break between pops, pull from heat. Transfer popcorn immediately to your bowl.
- Allow to cool for a couple of minutes (sugar will be VERY hot) before eating. Keep an eye out for unpopped kernels as you eat, and enjoy.
Keywords: homemade kettle corn